Re: RARA-AVIS: Spillane - what's up with that?

Peter Walker (
Sat, 11 Jul 1998 21:59:59 +0000 > On 10 Jul 98, at 0:33, Joshua B Lukin wrote:
> Was the reality of the red scare justified? I doubt that I would say yes.
> What I am not willing to say is that there was no threat; That there was no
> justification for anti-communist feelings; That a communist leader didn't
> really say "we will bury you."; That the repression on Czchoslovakia in the
> mid 60s didn't happen; That the fear of nuclear war was not a major reality
> of the times.
I'm not sure what point you are trying to make here. Whever-or-not
this is true the USA has and still does its fair share of
anti-democratic threatening, posturing, bullying and invading. There
is no way you can hold your head up in the international morality
stakes. The 'red scare' justified and fueled the most appalling
represson within America - Klan murders, racism and MacCarthyism
et al. Thatts the real point. Fear - in this case fear of communism -
can justify most things.
Even if you look at American foriegn policy its not much better.
What was Vietnam about (other than loosing)?. I mean are you proud of that?
Looking around for someone to lean on who was a bit more managable
the US picked on the likes of Granada, Panama, Hiati and a completely
illegal blockade of Cuba. The problem for me here is not whever or
not this is true but the fact that if Isaid that in America I'd be called
a communist. So much for freedomof speach and democracy and Micky
would be around to sort me out.

The point - the whole point - of Micky Spillane - is that he explains
something about America ie the bullying, the insecurity, the being superficial
and being very very dangerous. He represents the dark side of America in a
way that many writers tries to capture consciously be he managed it
without really trying. Hammer - like American society - is deeply
disturbed. He's stuck in a mire of adolescent rage and sexual desire.
Its not 'communism' he hates - there is no evidence he knows what it
is - he hates being different. Micky Mouse is good. Karl Marx is bad.
Yeah, thats it guys. Spillane's writing is sadistic, perverse and
psychotic (but don't get me wrong - I like them!). I cannot remember
the book at the minute but there is one in which Hammer strips the
clothes off and whips a woman who is a communist. Within the first
five books forty-eight people die violently -
thirty-four of whom had Hammer to thank for their untimely demise.

Hammer is a product of America - not communism. Charles Willerford
wrote "I had a hunch that madness was a predominant theme and normal
condition for Americans living in the second half of this century"
( talking about his 1963 paranoid classic, "TheMachine In Ward
Eleven"). He has one of his characters, Troy Louden, say:
"I'm what the shrinks call a criminal psychopath. What that means is,
I know the difference between right and wrong, but I don't give a
shit". Those few words: "I don't give a shit" sum up most things but
they equally cover Hammer and American foriegn policy.

Oh, well. I do love our Micky (Spillane - not Mouse). The irony is
that Spillane packed it all in at one point and joined those well
known comformists the Jehovahs Witnesses.

If you are interested there is an excellent book on the subject of
pulps and the cold war called, convieniently, "Pulp Culture and the
Cold War" by Woody Haut. PubSepents Tail (UK).

"...and thats no private eye wash"
Shell Scott
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